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5 cars to look out for at the 67th Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) 2017

It’s that time of the year again. Some of the world’s biggest carmakers gather to show off their latest accomplishments and automotive innovations at the International Motor Show (IAA) at Frankfurt, Germany. From September 14 to 24, the annual auto industry show will host bigwigs like Ferrari and Bentley, as well as homegrown brands such as Porsche, Volkswagen and Audi.

The 67th edition of the IAA will also be shining a spotlight on cleaner cars of the future, following the “dieselgate” scandal at last year’s show. In response to the criticism surrounding harmful emissions from diesel and petrol engines, automakers around the world have been shifting their focus to electric and automated vehicles, many of which will be unveiled at the IAA.

Nevertheless, the trade show will still feature good old automobiles that meet all the requirements of a traditionalist: excellent craftsmanship, ingenious functionality and beautiful design. Here is a round-up of cars to look out for at one of the industry’s biggest events of the year.

Ferrari Portofino

Ferrari will be celebrating its 70th year anniversary with a bang that comes in the form of the Ferrari Portofino. The 2+2 convertible, which succeeds the longtime fan favourite Ferrari California, boasts a twin-turbo V8 engine capable of unleashing an impressive 600hp. According to the Italian carmaker, the Ferrari Portofino is also able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds. With its retractable hardtop and gorgeous Rosso Portofino coat, the Ferrari Portofino will undeniably be one of the most powerful — and stylish — supercars on display.

Bentley Continental GT

You know what they say: the third time’s the charm. And it certainly is for Bentley’s third-generation Continental GT, the latest incarnation of the British brand’s Grand Tourer. The all-new Continental GT has been revamped with a heavily revised 12-cylinder engine that outputs an impressive 626bhp. With the makeover, the car can now go from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds, and accelerate to a 333km/h (207mph) top speed. The successor to Bentley’s most popular car also boasts sleeker exterior lines and a range of cutting-edge driver aids, which will no doubt be a source of fascination for visitors later this week.

Porsche Cayenne

One of the major contenders from Germany itself is Porsche, which will be unveiling its third-generation Cayenne SUV. For a while, fans had only a rendering of the new car to go by. However, those who make the trip to Frankfurt will get to see for themselves exactly what Porsche has in store for them: an impressive Cayenne that is now longer and wider, yet lower and lighter. The SUV will also feature a range of technologies from its seminal 911, including rear-wheel steering to boost handling and poise — even off the road.

Audi A8

Guests at the biennial Frankfurt show will get to say hello to Audi’s all-new flagship vehicle: the A8 luxury sedan. The A8 has already been at the vanguard of motoring technology for some time now. The new model that was unveiled to the international press back in July, however, promises to be the first production car with a Level 3 autonomy. The all-round high-tech beast will be premiered alongside its sportier little brother, the A7 four-door coupé.

BMW M5

Besides a range of SUVs and other concepts, BMW will also finally reveal its new M5 super sedan. Set to be one of the highlights for this year’s show, the 600bhp supersaloon is the company’s first vehicle to come with all-wheel-drive as a standard. The new M5 also breaks a previously long-held tradition of BMW’s with its 190mph top speed. That puts the car miles ahead of the company’s past production cars, which were electronically restricted to 155mph.

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BMW reveals new concept car Series 8 at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Car maker BMW revealed its latest concept car, the Series 8, at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy, serving up a taste of what’s to come from its high-end Series 8 coupé production model, expected in 2018. The upcoming BMW Series 8 coupé will succeed the current BMW Series 6, reviving a name previously used for BMW Grand Tourer coupé models in the 1990s. According to BMW, the forthcoming Series 8 coupé will be a perfect blend of razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury, lining itself up for comparison with the Mercedes S-Class coupé.

The concept car unveiled at the Italian Concours d’Elegance showcases a new light design, with slim laser headlights at the front. It also features 21-inch multispoke wheels. On the inside, the driving position has a sporty feel, seating the driver low in carbon-fiber-shell sports seats, as if at the wheel of a race car. High-end materials abound, with carbon fiber, brushed aluminum, Merino leather and Swarovski glass.

A first production model is slated for release in 2018, with a cabriolet likely to follow later. Note that BMW is yet to reveal details of the engine specs. For more information do visit BMW.

 

Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este: Counting down to the famous classic car convention in Lake Como, Italy

Which classic car is the most elegant? On May 26, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017 officially starts welcoming the public to its immaculately kept grounds on the shores of Lake Como, Italy to view immaculately kept classic cars, collectors’ motorcycles and even catch a world premiere peek at a number of brand new concepts.

One of the oldest and most popular of all current annual concours events, the show also signifies the official start of the classic car season that will culminate with Monterey Motoring Week and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August.

This year’s event, which has adopted the motto “Around the World in 80 Days—Voyage through an Era of Records,” promises an astounding assortment of automotive treasures—cars from the 1920s and 30s such as the Bentley 4 ½ Litre from 1929 that helped create the concept of endurance racing, right up to the competition cars of the 60s and 70s when motor racing was in its heyday.

And in between those two markers will be the pre-war luxury cars that were capable of lapping the globe rather than the track, the post-war lightweight vehicles that gave birth to the sportscar genre, the cars that shaped the modern GT car and the first “flamboyant playboys’ toys”—those cars that were little more than street legal road racers that opened the door to the supercar phenomenon.

Among the eight automotive concours classes for which prizes will be awarded, 51 cars have been painstakingly selected, and they will be shipped from 16 different countries. They represent 30 different marques, 12 of which are Italian. And even though Ferrari will be the most represented marque in this year’s competition (seven models), more cars have been shipped to Italy from owners in the US (12) than from any other country, underlining the truly international pull of this event.

This year’s show will also include the RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale, a biennial auction with a reputation for readjusting classic car prices and one where 15 of the 45 cars set to go under the hammer are expected to do so for more than €1 million.

Among the gems on offer to the highest bidder are a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ coupé (estimated €32.-3.8 million) and a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport Avant-Garde (€6.5-€8 million). However, for those that have more modern tastes, each member of the current hybrid hypercar trinity—the Porsche 918 Spyder, the Ferrari LaFerrari and a McLaren P1 (in GTR track only form)—are also in the catalogue.

New BMW ‘M’ 5-Series Model: Revitalising diesel with its new M550d xDrive

Diesel has been seeing downturn on its luck in recent years. But thanks to a diesel powertrain, BMW‘s latest ‘M’ badged 5-Series model—the M550d xDrive—is as big on power as it is on responsibility, so much so that it could help rehabilitate the fuel’s reputation. Although the company’s ‘M’ division is now spreading its wings and adding flourishes of motorsport technology or styling to a host of BMW models, rather than simply concentrating on making pure, undiluted ‘M’ variants of each production car, a BMW with the M badge on its rear, is never a marketing gimmick.

So, for the M550d xDrive to earn the right to wear the M badge, it has to offer something a bit special, regardless of what type of fuel it runs on. And here, the car doesn’t disappoint as owners will be able to claim their car has the most powerful six-cylinder diesel ever fitted to a production automobile.

It has three liters of displacement, four turbochargers and 400hp. As for torque, a diesel engine’s trump card, there’s 760Nm on offer and it is accessible from 2,000rpm. It may come with an electronically restricted 250km/h (155mph) top speed, but on the way to that figure it will hit 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds. Plump for the bulkier, heavier Touring (station wagon) version and it will still manage that dash in 4.6 seconds.

But M cars have to be fun in the bends as well as on the straight so the M550d xDrive comes with intelligent all-wheel drive, sharper suspension, an eight-speed sports transmission and a ride height dropped by 10 milimetres for improved centre of gravity.

Diesel may have a dirty name at the moment, but in the short term at least, the fuel’s efficiency is going to be crucial in helping truly global car companies meet tighter emissions and economy standards.

It’s why Mercedes invested over €3 billion developing its latest generation ultra-efficient, lightweight OM 654 diesel powertrain that debuted in its E-Class in mid-2016. It’s also why Bentley, a company founded on very torque-y gasoline V8 engines and laterally W12 twin turbo blocks has finally started offering its most fuel-thirsty car—the Bentayga SUV— with a diesel option.

The M550d xDrive has a gasoline sibling, the M550i. It has a 4.4 liter V8 calling the shots and it’s 0.4 seconds faster off the line, has 62 more horsepower but just 650NM torque. It offers a combined fuel economy of 8.9l/100km and 204g/km in terms of CO2 emissions. The M550d returns 5.9l/100km on the combined cycle and 154g/km of CO2.

For more information, do visit BMW.

New luxury car model: BMW adds exclusivity to 6 Series with M Sport Limited Edition

The M Sport Limited Edition of the BMW 6 Series | © BMW Group AG

The M Sport Limited Edition of the BMW 6 Series. | © BMW Group AG

The latest varient of BMW‘s grand tourer is designed to stand out, but exactly by how much will be down to the individual owner’s tastes.

Despite being rewarding to drive, genuinely practical especially in Gran Coupé four-door guise and subtly stylish, the BMW 6 Series has a hard time standing out from some of its louder competition such as the Mercedes S Class coupé, Audi A7 or Porsche Panamera.

In order to address this apparent shortcoming, the company on Friday took the wraps off the new M Sport Limited Edition. When it goes on sale in April it will come with a selection of unique touches, such as a new Sonic Blue metallic paint finish, custom M Sport double-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels and carbon fiber wing mirror housings.

Inside, it is a similar story. This car will be the only 6-Series variant that will come with BMW Individual (the company’s bespoke arm) fine-grain Merino leather trimmed front seats in contrasting black and Fjord blue as standard equipment. A carbon fiber capped gear lever and carbon fiber trim treatments throughout the cabin will also help the car feel that little bit different from the norm.

The M Sport Limited Edition of the BMW 6 Series - cabin view | © BMW Group AG

Cabin view of the M Sport Limited Edition of the BMW 6 Series. | © BMW Group AG

And of course, as with any limited edition premium car from any premium German marque, the M Sport gets special door sill covers inscribed with the model’s name.

One curious decision, however, is powertrain. M Sport variants are usually among the most sprightly of all ‘standard’ BMWs. However, for this particular model, as well as making it available to order as a two-door, four-door or convertible, BMW is also leaving the engine choice down to the individual owner. This means that they can tune its performance (or economy) to suit their needs whether it’s a thumping 450hp V8 with four-wheel drive, a 330hp in-line six cylinder, or a 313hp turbodiesel offering a 5.1l/100km fuel economy on the combined cycle.

But regardless of engine choice, the new model will also come with an eight-speed Steptronic sports transmission as standard.

BMW Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo: First look and specs of this made-to-measure vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

The BMW B5 Bi-Turbo. © Alpina

Before the BMW M5 is unveiled in 2018, Alpina releases the latest addition to the 5-Series in sedan and station wagon forms, the BMW B5 Bi-Turbo. © Alpina

If you can’t wait until the new BMW M5 arrives in early 2018, make a ‘B’ line for Alpina‘s latest model. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in both sedan and station wagon variants, the 2017 BMW Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo keeps everything that’s cutting-edge and comfortable about the latest-generation standard 5-Series and adds a 4.4-liter bi-turbo V8 engine.

The result is an executive sedan that is also a supercar in disguise. BMW B5 Bi-Turbo’s engine sends 608hp via an eight-speed gearbox to all four wheels making it the first Alpina 5-Series to feature all-wheel drive as standard but where the car really surprises is in what all that power does. It sends the car from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds another first for an Alpina vehicle — and on to a top speed of 330km/h. Prior to this, no production BMW could go beyond 250km/h without removing the electronic governor.

Better still, because this is an Alpina, a car developed alongside the standard 5-Series, it will be able to deliver these quoted levels of performance year-round, unlike an Italian supercar that must be handled with utmost care and only taken out of its special garage when the weather conditions are perfect.

© Alpina

© Alpina

However, the company itself admits that it was a big challenge to construct a car that is able to behave like an everyday executive run-around most of time, while exhibiting such a ferocious turn of speed when pushed. To ensure the ride would not be rock hard, the car’s suspension system uses electronically adjustable dampers.

Additionally, to make sure it’s easy to maneuver when not on the track where drifting sideways is acceptable driving behavior the BMW B5 Bi-Turbo is also the first Alpina to feature active rear-wheel steering. According to the company, such steering should make the car feel like a much smaller vehicle in inner city situations where a small turning circle is a necessity.

The only thing stopping this car from being the ultimate sleeper or Q car is its standard exterior colour, which comprises Alpina Blue or Alpina Green, the pinstriped deco set coachline striping, the subtle front and rear spoilers and of course those unique 20-spoke Alpina wheels. However, all of those elements are standardized. An Alpina is also a made-to-measure vehicle; from interior fittings and materials to exterior paint colors, the car can be customized to individual taste.

BMW won’t be launching its own M5 until 2018 and when it does, there’s a good chance that it could be faster from 0-100km/h than the B5. However, the company has confirmed that it has no plans to make a station wagon version of the next M5, leaving Alpina’s B5 Bi-Turbo Touring in a class of its own.

BMW 320i Gran Turismo M Sport Debuts Singapore

Performance and luxury motoring enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that the new BMW 320i Gran Turismo M Sport is now available in Singapore. With its latest series 3 model, BMW is thinking big. The BMW 320i Gran Turismo M Sport is a sophisticated performance model, with a nice sporting touch. The car, slightly longer than the other BMW3 series models, has a dynamic, sporting profile, thanks to its front and rear LED lights and its more — shall we say — eager lines.

The German brand worked especially hard to deliver spaciousness, which is quite something when you consider this is an M badged car. The point was to offer a luxury sedan-like experience: raised seat positions to get wider visibility, more legroom, three full-size seats at the back, four doors and a large tailgate, upgrading the boot to 1,600L of load space. Inside, we can find chromed controls, leather inserts and wooden elements – a sophisticated setting and a luxurious finish. Again, all this might seem strange in an M package, especially one with the words ‘Gran Turismo’ and ‘Sport’ in its name.

BMW 340i GT M Sport Estorilblau

BMW 340i GT M Sport Estorilblau

 

Now that we’ve made the case for the luxury aspect, a bit about the performance: the BMW 320i Gran Turismo M sport has been given a new engine, thanks to which you can expect higher output and lower fuel consumption. It is fabulous that contemporary automakers find ways to deliver maximum performance while keeping the carbon footprint light.

The BMW 320i Gran Turismo M Sport even aims to be a model citizen when it comes to fuel economy and emissions as it is fitted with an improved automatic transmission, Auto Start/Stop function, brake energy regeneration and the ECO PRO mode. Of course, the car manages to do all this while pushing the performance envelop, all without impinging on comfort.

BMW 340i GT M Sport Estorilblau

BMW 340i GT M Sport Estorilblau

Finally, the list of standard equipment includes M Sport trim, automatic climate control, keyless engine ignition, Servotronic, a high-resolution color screen with iDrive Controller and hands-free facility for phone calls.

 

The new BMW 320i Gran Turismo M Sport (S$229,800) is available for viewing at Performance Motors’ showroom from 9 November 2016.
Specs:
Capacity: 1,998 cc
Max output: 184 hp at 5,000 rpm
Max torque: 270 Nm from 1,350–4,600 rpm
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds
Top speed: 229 km/h
Average fuel consumption to the EU standard: 6.1-5.8 litres/100km
Combined CO2 emissions to the EU standard: 139-132 g/km

Review: BMW M2 Goes Back To Basics

The brand new BMW M2 has received a lot of publicity the world over. With stablemates that have apparently lost their soul and become computers on wheels, the M2 is said to feel like the M cars of old. A straight 6 engine paired in this instance to a DCT gearbox, we take one out on the streets of Singapore to see what she can really do.

Getting into the M2 is familiar to getting in most BMW’s of the current generation. Comfy sports seats hug you and keep you in place, while the iDrive systems features prominently on the centre console. This car featured a keyless start system and as I pushed the starter button, the straight 6 comes to life with a typical BMW-esque burble. I select drive and pull away. Like with most modern sports cars, it’s incredibly comfortable to cruise around town in, yet when you want to drive faster, a completely different car rears its head.p90199664_highres_the-new-bmw-m2-coupe

Stopping at a traffic light, I decide to have a play around with the iDrive system. This thing is packed with tech. Attempting to figure out how to use it all without reading the manual – like I did – will result in ages of confusion and banging your head against the wall trying to complete simple tasks. BMW were the first car manufacturer to bring out a knob scrolling command centre. Once you get the hang of how to use it, it’s amazing, however it’s a lot more complex than many of the touch screen systems. The idea is that you can control most of the functions of the vehicle using the system and it has some pretty cool features. For instance, I can connect my GoPro camera to the system and film my driving through the screen.

As I pull away from the lights and head towards some corners, the two best single aspects of the car make themselves known and I feel first hand why everyone is in love with this car. That engine is a joy, I would have preferred the manual transmission to shift gears as the DCT can be a bit fidgety, however the mere urgency the engine creates when under acceleration is fantastic. There’s minimal lag from the TwinScroll turbo chargers and the thing really pulls hard. The 0 -100 km/h in 4.3 seconds is easily achievable from the 365 hp on tap. Secondly, the car feels light and likes to play around the corners. It has electronic stability and traction systems, but they’re not overly imposing and allow for some leeway if you want to make things a little lairy. The car is confidence inspiring and things never feel uncontrollable. From a small performance sports coupe, you want it to be fun and easy to throw around. This new M2 allows for this a lot more than its bigger relatives.p90210196_highres_bmw-m2-coupe-02-2016

I was surprised at how practical the car is to use as a daily driver as well. There’s a lot of room inside both front and back. Two medium sized adults can easily fit in the rear seats. There’s also plenty of boot space. You can get a couple sets of golf clubs in there or some suitcases for a weekend away.

This car deserves a 4 out of 5 stars. It offers great performance and it’s very useable and practical as a daily drive. Go for the manual transmission and you’ll have a smile on your face. If you’re in the market for a four seater performance car in this price range, it would definitely be my top choice. Oh and did I mention it looks great?

This article was first published in Palace.

BMW 5-Series

BMW 5 Series: Seventh Generation Innovations

Cutting-edge connectivity and semi-autonomous driving tech are just two of the goodies BMW delivers with the seventh generation of the now-legendary BMW 5 Series.

Shunning both the recently concluded Paris and upcoming LA Auto Shows in favor of a standalone reveal event, the BMW 5 Series is proposed as “the epitome of the business sedan,” according to company chairman, Harald Krüger. “We see technological leadership, emotionally rich products and digitalization as essential factors in achieving success.”

And this is key. The BMW 5 Series offers steering and lane control assist at speeds of up to 210km/h, which boggles the mind. It can also help the driver change or stay in lane; take evasive action when a collision risk is imminent; check for traffic at junctions and crossroads; autonomously respect the speed limit; and, even boasts a voice control system that can respond to natural language — i.e., this is a car that likes to have a conversation.BMW 5-Series

But with all that tech, it is very easy to detach the owner from the driving experience so it is important to note that this is not a fully autonomous vehicle. And that’s why much of the new connectivity tech on board the BMW is about cutting stress and saving time, such as the ParkNow system that finds and pays for parking spaces ahead of time. And of course the remote parking system that debuted on the car’s big brother, the 7-Series, where a push of the smart key button is enough for the car to maneuver automatically into even the tightest of spaces.

Other highlights in this regard include a concierge service, gesture controls for the infotainment system and wireless smartphone charging and connectivity. You won’t need to plug your iPhone into the car’s system to access CarPlay. It is automatic.BMW 5-Series

All of which should free the driver up to enjoy the car’s new engine variations, which will initially include a 2-liter four cylinder 252hp unit (0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds) and a three-liter straight six with 340hp on tap and a 4.8 second 0-100km/h time. Though faster and more powerful than existing engines, both are more fuel efficient and by mid 2017 drivers will also have the choice of a hybrid  and an all-wheel drive M550i xDrive model with a 462hp V8 under the hood and a 4.0-second 0-100km/h time. That should be enough to keep keen drivers happy until the next M5 comes along.

“The seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series points the way into the future, as we have defined it with our NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy,” said Krüger. “I’m in no doubt that the new BMW 5 Series will set new benchmarks technologically, but also have huge emotional appeal.”

BMW K 1600 B Motorbike Unveiled

Based on a previous 6-cylinder sports tourer, the K 1600 GT, the new BMW K 1600 B incorporates a completely remodeled rear section, a lowered passenger seat, and effective wind and weather protection among its features, BMW said in a statement.

Electronic suspension, assists for reverse gear as well as up and down shifts, fixed side cases and a folding rear mudguard are also included.

The Shift Assist Pro means that riders can shift up and down without using the clutch in most cases; an Intelligent Emergency Call option for Europe ensures “the fastest possible assistance in the event of an accident or in situations of emergency and danger can save people’s lives – something that particularly affects motorcyclists,” BMW advises.

That 6-cylinder engine – inherited from the K 1600 GT – posts 160hp, 118kW output at 7,750rpm, with a maximum torque of 178Nm at 2,250rpm.

Price and date for the K 1600 B have not yet been announced.

Future Motorbike Riders Won’t Need Helmets: BMW

Future Motorbike Riders Won’t Need Helmets: BMW

If you’ve always dreamed of riding your bike sans helmet and safety gear, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 is the motorcycle for you. Unveiled Tuesday, BMW claims the prototype is a zero-emissions, self-balancing wonder but, at the same time, reminds us all that this won’t be a reality until 2030 at the earliest.

This happens to be the year the German government wants to phase out the internal combustion engine itself so we wonder if BMW knows more than it is letting on here. Nevertheless, given what has happened at Samsung with the Note 7 – much ballyhooed by the company and observers in the know – there is something to be said for erring on the cautious side.

Now, this whole Vision Next 100 might sound familiar to you and well it should. The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 is part of the German automaker’s anniversary celebrations this year. This cheery affair has already seen a futuristic BMW sports car with a flexible body, as well as a self-driving Rolls-Royce and an electric Mini model.

Back to the concept bike at hand, BMW says it is so safe you won’t need a helmet to ride it as you don’t even have to balance it. It has self-balancing wheels designed to stand upright even at a complete stop, stability that the company says will allow riders to forgo a helmet – except to be stylish of course.

“Its self-balancing system will help protect the rider at any time,” said Edgar Heinrich, the design director of BMW’s motorcycle division. “Any late reaction from the driver will trigger and the vehicle will balance out.”

“In the future, motorcycle riders will be able to enjoy riding without protective gear.”

Future Motorbike Riders Won’t Need Helmets: BMW

Company representatives are quick to add that riding without a helmet remains a fantasy for now, though.

Many countries mandate the protective gear and self-balancing technology is still in the developmental stage. There are no plans at this point to make this concept fully autonomous.

“We do not envision autonomy on motorcycles,” said Heinrich, as the driverless autopilot system has faced global scrutiny following fatal crashes in northern China in January and in the US state of Florida in May. To be fair though, we can’t imagine anyone wanting fully autonomous bikes but some level of smart mobility, so to speak, as present in the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 would no doubt be welcome.

BMW aims to commercialize fully autonomous vehicles by 2021, a company spokesman told the AFP.

The Munich-based group has been collaborating with US computer chip giant Intel and the Israeli technology firm Mobileye to develop self-driving cars.

Last year, the Munich-based group also joined forces with its German rivals Daimler and Audi, the luxury subsidiary of Volkswagen, to buy the Here digital mapping service from Nokia to assist in the effort.

5 Big Bike Names Going Retro: Intermot 2016

5 Big Bike Names Going Retro: Intermot 2016

The recently concluded Intermot may be full to the brim with new sportsbikes from the Honda Fireblade to the Ducati SuperSport S (pictured top) but it will also be remembered as a bike event with a serious focus on retro style, marrying the cooler looks of classic biking with cutting-edge technology and modern handling.

5 Big Bike Names Going Retro: Intermot 2016

Triumph Street Cup

The king of the retro bike is Triumph. Every time it looks like its run out of new angles for its classic range or classic angles for its modern range, the brand somehow surprises and Intermot was no exception. The Triumph Street Cup is a Street Twin underneath but thanks to a host of custom touches – drop handle bars, single seat with cowl, tiny fly screen visor and mirrors coming out of the handlebars – it is now every inch the café racer.

5 Big Bike Names Going Retro: Intermot 2016

Honda CB1100RS

Honda’s new Fireblade was one of the stand out stars of this year’s show, but the marque is also trying to woo riders that put a premium on style with its seriously overhauled CB1100RS. It’s aiming to get the retro look and feel right this time with new forks, aluminum side panels and an improved café racer-style riding position.

5 Big Bike Names Going Retro: Intermot 2016

BMW R Nine T Racer

Showing what a huge difference a couple of pieces of injection moulded fairing, a new seat and fuel tank can make to a model, the BMW R nine T Racer (officially it is ‘nine’, not ‘Nine’) channels the spirt of 1970s racing bikes but, thanks to an 1170cc boxer engine putting out 110bhp plus ABS as standard, it should feel very much 2016.

5 Big Bike Names Going Retro: Intermot 2016

Yamaha SCR 950 Street Scrambler

Scramblers were one of the big trends of the 2014 show, thanks to Ducati, and this year, it is Yamaha’s turn to go back in dirt track time. The SCR 950 Street Scrambler takes many of its styling cues from the 1980s, put not its moving parts. They’re mostly from the XV90, including the torque-y V-Twin engine.

5 Big Bike Names Going Retro: Intermot 2016

Moto Guzzi Audace Carbon

Last but not least, Moto Guzzi turned the retro approach on its head by taking its already retro-looking (though they would prefer ‘classically styled’) Audace and bedecking it in carbon fiber. The result is one part stealth cruiser, one part BatPod. The only elements of the bike that aren’t either carbon fiber finished or matte black painted are the brake calipers and cylinder heads, which are red instead.

BMW Teases iNext: Paris Motor Show

Earlier at the Paris Motor Show, BMW unveiled the new 3 Series Gran Turismo – which consisted of a 300km range version of its plug-in electric i3 city car, a new electric scooter and the upcoming X2 Concept. If that isn’t quite enough of a triple threat, the company’s global head of Sales and Marketing teased the world with what’s next – a phase of connected and autonomous cars.

“The next big step will be the iNext, in 2021,” said Robertson. He then explained the next generation car’s self-driving capabilities, an alternative powertrain and cutting-edge connectivity. The end goal, is a completely autonomous car. “Along the way, [its] technology will spread through the brand,” he explains.

To be able to accomplish this digital dream, BMW would need to forge partnerships with other parties, like Intel supercomputing and Mobileye vision systems. The master plan will comprise of real-time data, traffic alerts, and 100% autonomous driving.

When you think about the fact that BMW owns a third of the HERE mapping and car data platform (along with Audi and Mercedes), it is no surprise that the company announced this kind of ambitious plan. However, this is the company that aims to deliver ‘sheer driving pleasure’ so is it betraying its own philosophy with all this talk of autonomous driving?

“I think the two things go together,” responds Robertson. “The DNA of BMW always was innovation and technology. That’s what we are, that’s what we’ve always been and that’s what our brand stands for. It’s what our customers expect so you can expect us to keep pushing those boundaries.” He claims that the integration of technology will enhance the driving experience further.

“I’m driving a new 7 series. It is semi-autonomous. I drive the first 25km in an autobahn environment, unrestricted. I drive over 250km/h. It makes me feel good in the morning and in the evening. But the last 10km are always in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I stick it into the mode that allows semi autonomy. I don’t need to use my feet any more. I can take my hands off the wheel, I can take my eyes off the road, briefly, and that for me is marrying the autonomous world with sheer driving pleasure in an urban environment because not all of it is that much fun.”

fisker-karma

Henrik Fisker Announces Fisker Automotive Return

Henrik Fisker is reviving Fisker Automotive and plans to introduce an all-new premium electric car that is expected to be unveiled in mid-2017. With talks that it will set the new standard for range between charges, there are high expectations for the vehicle. Bear in mind that this is completely different to the Karma Revero, which we covered previously.

Said to have greater head room and leg room that other cars in production, the vehicle is also expected to be constructed using innovative materials and will incorporate revolutionary battery technology. Little else is known about the new design. “Fisker Inc. will spearhead a revolution in electric cars that will disrupt the electric vehicle market and change the world,” said Henrik Fisker, who will serve as Chairman and CEO of the reformed company.

Back in 2012, the company launched the world’s first electrically propelled luxury GT called the Fisker Karma. The vehicle used a petrol generator to recharge the battery and was a bold vision by the brand. And because it was designed and conceived by the man that had been responsible for sketching the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9, the car and the company generated huge excitement.

Unfortunately, a combination of poor sales, problems with suppliers and a natural disaster forced Fisker to walk away and the company went into bankruptcy. “Both the technology and the market are more mature now than when we first started out as pioneers in the electric vehicle industry, and our new vehicle will be the most innovative and cutting-edge electric car ever created,” said Fisker. “With our game-changing battery technology, now is the time to develop more affordable, mass market vehicles,” he added.

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

To mark coachbuilder Touring Superleggera’s 90th anniversary, the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile (the Italian National Motor Museum or ‘MAUTO’) in Turin is hosting a retrospective exhibition of the Milanese car design and coachbuilder’s work. When the show opened to the public over the weekend, the work shown was in the form of 11 of the company’s greatest automotive creations. These ranged from the 1930s to the present day alongside sketches, design blueprints, photos and video footage.

“There is no better venue to celebrate our first 90 years than MAUTO. Not only is it the most important national car museum in Italy, but Turin was the cradle and the industrial heart of the Italian car industry,” said Piero Mancardi, CEO of Touring Superleggera.

Mancardi has been overseeing the company’s fortunes since it turned its attentions from designing mass-production models – Touring’s last production car design commission was the quixotic Jensen Interceptor – to creating truly bespoke commissions for the most demanding of car collecting clients and creating cutting-edge concepts for the likes of Mini and Maserati.

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

The Jensen Interceptor R. © Jensen International Automotive

But times and technological processes have changed over the automobile’s first 130 years, with design and development moving in-house. What the exhibition, co-curated with MAUTO itself, aims to show, is how much influence a single coachbuilder has had on the appearance of cars over that 130 years, particularly those of Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati.

“MAUTO is pleased with having participated in the development of this exhibition which, following the museum’s guidelines and applying a tutorial approach, develops the theme of creativity and its evolution in car design,” said MAUTO’s director, Rodolfo Gaffino Rossi.

The very first Lamborghini, the 1963 350 GT was a Touring design, as was the Aston Martin DB5, the most iconic British car in history, thanks to James Bond. Between 1948 and 1953 the firm designed five Ferraris, and undertook most of the marque’s production including for the 166 MM Barchetta, the vehicle that in 1949 laid the foundation on which the Ferrari legend was built (pictured top).

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

The 1963 Lamborghini 350GT. © Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

And all of these iconic cars will be present as part of the exhibition, as will a 1956 Maserati 3500 GT, a 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport and a 1939 BMW 328 Berlinetta Aerodinamica Touring.

“We chose to showcase Touring Superleggera’s design progress through a series of cars which we feel best represent our capability in adapting to the evolution of the automobile industry in rolling chassis, materials and production techniques, often allowing us to dictate new styles and trends ahead of their times,” said Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of Design.

And that’s why the final elements of the show will consist of the company’s latest designs including the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touring which has been turning heads and emptying wallets since making its debut at the 2013 Geneva motor show.

“Touring Superleggera: Ninety Years of Forward-Looking Elegance” runs until November 20 at MAUTO, Turin, Italy. More images of the iconic Touring Superleggera cars follow below:

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

The 1963 Aston Martin DB5. © Aston Martin Lagonda Limited

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

The 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport ‘Villa d’Este’ © Touring Superleggera

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante By Touring. © Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera srl

11 Top Touring Superleggera Automobile Hits

BMW 328 Berlinetta Aerodinamica Touring from 1939. © Touring Superleggera

2016 Singapore Polo Gold Cup

Polo has long been known as the sport of kings and it is slowly gaining ground in Singapore, especially recently. On September 24, the 2016 Singapore Polo Club Gold Cup will see the island’s best players compete for top honors. Presented by BMW, the tournament aims to celebrate 130 years of the Singapore Beach Polo Club and a century of the BMW Group.singapore-polo-club-gold-cup-stella-artois

While the same team that aims to compete in next year’s FIP World Cup playoffs as well as the 2017 SEA Games will represent Singapore, the tournament will also feature other big names in the competition. From South Africa, we will see Tom de Bruin who is a seven goal player. As the national team’s captain, he has led the team to victory in numerous competitions since 2012. After much success in the United Kingdom, John Paul Clarkin of New Zealand will be another player who makes his way down to Singapore for the tournament. The final player we will see at the Singapore Polo Club Gold Cup, is Carlos Pando of Argentina. Having played in Asia for more than a decade, the six goal player has won every local high goal tournament.singapore-polo-club-gold-cup-reception

Attended by horse enthusiasts, polo fans, celebrities and socialites, the Singapore Polo Club Gold Cup will provide us with an opportunity to also catch the finest creations by BMW. Guests will be treated to champagne by Delmotte, beer by Stella Artois and Fiji Water as they enjoy the event in the day. Come evening, Royal Salute Ambassador Rajan Menon will do a special quaich anniversary toast during the Anniversary dinner. A quaich is a two-handled traditional shallow cup unique to Scotland.

Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes Top UX Awards

Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes Top UX Awards

The inaugural WardsAuto Top 10 Best User Experience Awards highlight those cars where technology and infotainment systems are a pleasure rather than a punishment to use.

Why is a user interface like a joke? If it needs to be explained, it’s not very good. This programmer’s mantra is very quickly moving from software and website design and into the lexicon of automotive design.

Once upon a time, the only knobs and dials found in a car’s interior did little more than turn on the air conditioning or re-tune the radio. Today’s cars offer everything from turn-by-turn navigation and 360° camera-assisted external views, to semi-autonomous system, wi-fi hotspots and, of course smartphone integration.

Therefore, to help buyers know which car companies are getting the hang of simplifying this “user experience” issue, WardsAuto created the 10 Best UX Competition and over the past several months has been putting 29 new cars on sale in the US through their paces.

“We’re trying to quantify how easy it is overall to interact with a vehicle,” said WardsAuto Senior Content Director Drew Winter. “Are controls easy to understand, or do you have to consult the owner’s manual? Are the driver-assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping, functioning reliably, and do the interior materials enhance the user experience?”

bmw_individual 7 series_the next 100 years_exterior

And the good news is that of the inaugural award winners, announced this week ahead of an official ceremony in October, there is an equal split among US, European and Japanese cars (three entries, each) with the final spot going to Korea’s biggest car company, Hyundai.

However, just as important as country split is that mass-market vehicles like the Ford Escape and the Hyundai Elantra have made the cut alongside the likes of the Audi Q7 and Mercedes E-Class and the latest generation BMW 7-Series which, at $128,445, is by far the most expensive car on the list to win an award.

All of which shows that all car companies are taking the concept of user experience seriously, from simple pairing of smartphones to available USB charging ports and voice recognition systems that actually understand what the driver is saying.

The winners, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Audi Q7
  • BMW 7-Series
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Ford Escape
  • GMC Acadia
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Infiniti Q50
  • Lexus RX
  • Mercedes E-Class
BMW High-Tech Wheelchairs: Paralympic Fast Lane

BMW High-Tech Wheelchairs: Paralympic Fast Lane

A wheelchair made by BMW and a prototype bike so valuable it must be kept under guard are two of the new weapons in Rio Paralympians’ unending race for a competitive advantage.

High-tech has never been more important than in Rio and inevitably athletes from rich countries are benefiting most, using cutting-edge gear to escape ever further from the limitations of their disabled bodies.

At the track and field stadium, four US athletes are riding what BMW calls “the world’s fastest wheelchair,” the US team told AFP.

The machine, created by BMW’s California-based firm Designworks and customized to fit each athlete, is made from carbon fiber. Long, low and triangular, it looks very little like a traditional wheelchair.

Meanwhile, titanium, carbon fiber and other space age materials are making the Flex-Foot Cheetah and other prostheses used by amputees ever lighter, stronger – and controversial.

Running blades, which cost thousands of dollars, work so well that they are now considered by some to be a competitive threat to able-bodied athletes.

German paralympic long-jump champion Markus Rehm, who is missing one leg, was barred from entering the Rio Olympics this year on the grounds that he could not prove his carbon-fiber prosthesis doesn’t give an unfair advantage. His personal best jump has in fact surpassed the winning distance in the 2012 London Olympics.

Guarded around the clock

Then there are the bikes. US athlete Jamie Whitmore, from California, rides a prototype Felt bicycle that was made just for her and her particular needs after suffering partial paralysis of her left leg from cancer.

In an apparently unique innovation, Felt also moved the drive train – the chain and gearing – to the left side, not the right as on every other bike, to create more efficiency on anti-clockwise race tracks.

“I love it,” Whitmore, a former professional mountain biker who has so far won one silver in Rio, told AFP. “I want to go home and speak to Mr Felt and see if I can be riding that next year.”

Her husband Courtney Cardenas, a triathlete and sports announcer, said the bike is worth $80,000 and “has to be chaperoned wherever it goes.”

“There’s a person with it all the time,” he said.

Do these expensive gadgets really make a difference? Yes, athletes say – but very little. “Fractions of a second,” Cardenas said of gains from the Felt bike.

Australian wheelchair basketball player Jannik Blair explained: “Everything is already top of the line. Now it’s things like minute changes in the types of metal we use.”

Where the real care in wheelchair design goes, his teammate Tom O’Neill-Thorne said, is in customizing the rig to the athlete’s shape and physical problems. “What matters is the customability and the ability to talk face to face with the person building the chair,” he said.

Tech Gulf

That need for painstaking and costly attention to detail might help explain why despite huge expansion of the Paralympics, the Games are still broadly dominated by athletes from Australia, China, Europe, North America and other economic powerhouses.

“It’s about wheels, helmets, everything – and definitely the countries that have more investment are very strong on the track,” Whitmore said.

“I’d like to see more Latino women…. It comes down to whom you get deals with and whom your being sponsored by.”

Para-cyclist Jose Frank Rodriguez, from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, can only dream of customized fittings and all the back office support that rich country athletes enjoy.

“I’m alone. I have no mechanic, no physio – just my coach and me,” he said glumly, still pouring with sweat from his last race in the 4,000m individual pursuit.

His Canadian-made Cervelo bike is good quality, but certainly wasn’t made for him and is probably already three or four years old, he said. With its worn-looking handlebars and chipped paint, it could be older. “We have talent but we need more support for the team,” he said.

Whitmore was sympathetic. In the end, though, desire and muscle power, not fancy equipment, makes champions, she said.

“You still have to have an engine,” she said with a smile. “You can’t sit on a couch and expect to win.”

BMW-jeff-koons-art-car

BMW Displays Rare Cars at LA’s Petersen Museum

Some of BMW’s biggest and brightest stars will gather to be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. In conjunction with the German automaker’s platinum jubilee celebrations, the “BMW: 100 Years of Performance” is an exhibition that is not only a retrospective of the firm’s legendary cars, but also highlights its commitment to on-track innovation.

Some notable cars amongst the all-star cast include a 1970 Alpina 2002ti race car, a year 2000 FW22 Formula 1 car once raced by Ralph Schumacher and the 1979 Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed M1, dubbed the original ‘M’ car. The curated collection will also be accompanied by rare road-going classic BMWs, such as a 507 Roadster that is rarely taken out of the company’s in-house collection unless for special race events.

“The Petersen is honored to be able to play host to these incredible cars,” said Adam Langsbard, chief marketing officer for the Petersen Automotive Museum. “We’re proud to be able to work with such a dedicated company and group of people.”

The 1970 Alpina 2002ti car was once graced by some of the best race car drivers, including Nick Craw and John Morton, and is credited for putting BMW back on the track as a race and road-car force to be reckoned with. The 1979 IMSA-specification 320i Turbo racer was also known to be a monster on the tracks with its Formula 2 M12 turbocharged unit that delivered 600hp. BMW later tweaked it for Formula 1, which resulted in an astounding output of 1000hp.

The unmistakably graphic Jeff Koons Art Car (pictured above) will also be hard to miss at the exhibition. The sporty 2010 M3 GT2 that raced at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans might look unassuming with its sprightly exterior, but its 4.0-liter V8 engine is capable of powering the car to 65 mph in a mere 3.4 seconds.

“BMW has built its reputation for performance on the track and on the streets with cars like those we’ll be displaying at The Petersen,” said Trudy Hardy, Vice President of Marketing at BMW of North America. “This collection of iconic BMWs demonstrates not only where we’ve been, but what the BMW brand stands for — and will continue to stand for — as we move into the next 100 years.”

Luxury Concept Cars Pebble Beach 2016 Lamborghini Centenario Roadster

5 Luxury Concept Cars Dominate Pebble Beach

At Pebble Beach this year, there was an impressive display of classic and concept cars that would have kept motoring enthusiasts on the edge of their seats. The Concours d’Elegance was an opportunity to showcase luxury concept cars and limited edition automobiles to the public, and boy did automakers pull out all the stops. We take a look at five of the most impressive luxury concept cars that caught our attention.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6Mercedes-Maybach 6

Clocking in at 6-meters, this all-electric concept car is an awe-inducing spectacle from Mercedes, representing where it thinks the storied Maybach name fits into the global automotive narrative. Fitted with an electric power train deliver 750 horsepower, the car is able to go from 1 to 100 km/h in under four seconds. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 comes on the heels of other concepts presented by the brand and is actually the first indication of what’s to come for Maybach, a marque we love to ogle. Obviously, it is set to pave the way for an upcoming model in the Maybach range.

Fisker Karma

fisker-karma

Henrik Fisker’s Fisker Karma cars are no more but the spirit of this marque gets its second wind here. Now christened the Karma Revero, the reborn plug-in hybrid is the first of Karma Automotives, complete with a new management team that focuses on the rather zen philosophy of cause and effect. It has inherited the same good looks as its namesake, and the solar roof is retained, which Karma Automotive boldly claims will generate enough energy to power the car.

BMW 2002 HomageThe BMW 2002 Hommage

Celebrating 100 years is a big deal and BMW is partying in many different ways, not least of which is this homage to one of its most symbolic creations, the 2002 Turbo. First created in 1973, the BMW 2002 was the first-ever road-going sports car that was equipped with a turbo charger. While the initial concept was unveiled at Villa d’Este in Italy earlier this year, Pebble Beach saw the manufacturer present a new version in orange and black — the original colors of the competition car that raced in the 1970s.

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato VolanteAston Martin Vanquish Zagato

British carmaker Aston Martin and Italian coach builder Zagato have dropped the top to present the American public with a convertible version of their Vanquish Zagato coupe. You’ve no doubt seen this dream machine before and it is certainly going into production although it may never reach showrooms anywhere. The production run for the model, which is equipped with a 592 horsepower V12 engine, will be limited to 99 copies.

Lamborghini Centenario RoadsterThe Lamborghini Centenario Roadster

At this year’s Pebble Beach, the Italian brand has opted to present the roadster version of its Centenario coupe. Unveiled earlier this year in Geneva, Switzerland, the Lamborghini Centenario, which marks the centenary of the birth of the founder of the brand, Ferrucio Lamborghini, is the most powerful ever built, with 770 horsepower enabling it to hit 100 km/h in only 2.8 seconds. The production run for the convertible version will be limited to just 20. The regular Centenario is already sold out and we expect the same here.